OPINION: I love this week.
It’s the week of the inexplicable urge to buy a new notebook (with an aggressively motivational phrase on the front) and start overestimating our ability to change.
You can smell the mildly deluded optimism wafting off every cafe, where everyone has called a board meeting of bored friends to discuss their KPIs for their 2024 New Year, New You strategy.
And after a week of these discussions, I’ve noticed some key reflections, I’d like to table for the minutes.
Namely, 2024 seems to be the year that everyone wants to start scheduling sex.
It’s not surprising. Making space for the slow-burn fire of eroticism in a world of relentless productivity has always been hard.
Especially in long-term relationships. But 2023 was an especially bad year for relationships and sex in general.
It was a year when romance, date nights and desire were subordinated to the grim, gritted teeth, and getting through.
Basically, ugh, I’m tired, we’ll have sex tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes. And now, we’ve all realised how awful that was.
So this week, on the top of many notebook pages is, “schedule time for romance!”
We’ve found an hour every Wednesday, and have extensive plans to optimise it for maximum coitus non-interuptus.
And behind every carefully highlighted box is the thinking that, “this is important, I need to make time for it” enthusiasm.
Now look, that can be a great instinct. It’s the approach that can help you go to the gym or call your Mum every week.
And it’s natural to think that if it works in one part of your life, it’ll work in another.
And I’m sure that someone somewhere can make this work for their relationship. Like how there’s always one person who just decides to start running, then runs every morning for the rest of their life.
Then there’s everyone else.
Yes, we’re busy. Yes, we’re shattered. But yes, we love our partners and want to do better. So out come the highlighters and the optimism.
But look, I don’t know if this is a good idea.
See the “it’s important I’ll schedule it in” mindset only works for activities where you don’t need to want to be there in order for it to succeed. Like the gym. You don’t have to want to go. You just have to go. Then you can leave saying, “yay, I’m not a flake!”
And that feeling of regularly completing something will just keep you going towards success.
But I don’t think sex works like that, especially not in a long term relationship where you care about the other person. You have to want to be there, with them, doing this.
And while you can schedule a task, you can’t schedule an emotion.
And Eros is the Grand Diva of all emotions. You can’t book her in for an appointment, she arrives when she’s goddam ready to.
So you can show up to your Wednesdays, but your libido won’t. After all, it’s hard to get excited about any item on a to do list.
Even if it’s fun, it still feels like a list…. Then you’ll either worry something’s wrong with you or you two. Or, worse, or you’ll have ‘obligation sex.’
And nothing turns a water blaster on your internal flame like that does.
But look, if we want to schedule something, here’s an idea.
No one really knows where desire itself comes from. It’s the mysterious stranger, riding into town on its own sparkly black horse, in search of adventure.
It likes novelty, it likes curiosity, it likes space to explore life.
So why not timetable space for you to do that?
Explore things that you’re curious about in life generally. The mysterious things that make you want to suck on the marrow of life – and maybe your partner’s toes too.
Basically, your joie de vie.
And no, I can’t guarantee that looking for that will get the spark back. But if you’re looking to tempt Eros back into your life, it’s a helluva lot more likely to start a fire than a sex spreadsheet will.